El Shaddai. My all-sufficient God who is able to handle all my needs. Everything I will ever need I can find in Him. Think about that for a moment. Do you sense the power He offers us in those words? There is nothing, absolutely nothing in your life that He cannot handle.
I'm sure the holy refrigerator is packed solid with cartons of Blue Bell ice cream - times a million. All those amazing flavor combinations minus the calories and fat grams, of course. After all, we are talking about heaven here, amen?
My pastor, Pete Wilson, gave a message on prayer, specifically citing this idea many of us have that prayer is a kind of transaction. beside him on the platform, an object the size of a refrigerator stood cloaked beneath a black cover. He said, 'most of us have reduced prayer down to a transaction. A way to manipulate what we want. A vending machine.' At that point, he yanked off the cover revealing a large vending machine, loaded with all kinds of snacks. He inserted some coins and pushed the button for peanut M&Ms (smart man, my pastor). Nothing happened. He hit the machine a couple of times, tried to rock it. Nothing.He continued. 'Most of the time when we go to God, it's because we want something. If we get what we want, we turn and walk off, satisfied. If we don't get what we want, we get frustrated; we kick the machine and blame God for not answering our request.'This 'transaction' view of prayer will always disappoint us because at the root of it, we think it's all about us. but prayer is so much more than giving God a list of our wants and needs or, in some cases, our demands. Prayer is communication. It's talking and listening.
For you and me, just knowing His presence is all around us can help lift us from the darkest night, embrace us in the loneliest hour, give us strength when we are tempted, and enable us to live confident and secure in His promises.
The good news is we don't have to suffer alone. We don't have to carry the burdens of our messy lives alone. God is there for us. He wants to be the Comforter in Chief for the worst that life on this earth may hand us. but we need to know Him - genuinely know Him - not just when tragedy strikes. We need to know Him every moment of every day we live. We need to quit leaving it to the professionals and make know Him the most important mission of our lives.
If we truly believe He is who He says He is, then we must acknowledge His sovereignty and know within our heart of hearts that what He allows to happen to us always has a purpose. Even on the darkest night. Even when our souls cry out in unspeakable pain. Even when we can't face another day. Even when we can't sense His presence. We hold on because we know He's holding on to us as well - whether it feels like it or not.